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List of "L" Movies

Labyrinth (1986) PG fantasy

When a girl (Jennifer Connelly) wishes for her baby brother to be abducted by goblins, she doesnít expect them to actually do it! She must travel through the labyrinth to reach the goblin castle--but the labyrinth is a confusing and unpredictable place! Whatís more, she must reach the center before the Goblin King (David Bowie) turns her brother into a goblin. Itís another highly imaginative film from director Jim Henson thatís fun to watch. Bowie, in one of his rare screen appearances, is a blast. Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Shelley Thompson, Christopher Malcolm, Natalie Finland, Shari Weiser, Brian Henson, Ron Mueck, Rob Mills, Dave Goeltz. Directed by: Jim Henson. B+

Ladder 49 (2004) PG-13 drama

Joaquin Phoenix stars in this shamelessly manipulative but welcome drama as a dedicated fire fighter. When he finds himself trapped in a burning building, he reminisces of the highlights of his life and career. Itís not as touching as it tries to be, but it never gets boring. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barret, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, Billy Burke, Balthazar Getty, Tim Guinee, Kevin Chapman, Jay Hernandez, Kevin Daniels, Steve Maye. Directed by: Jay Russell. B

Lady in the Lake (1946) NR mystery

Strikingly experimental for the day, this adaptation of a Raymond Chandler mystery novel is filmed with a subjective camera--that is, what the camera sees is what detective Philip Marlowe (Robert Montgomery) sees. It had a fantastic idea, but the supporting actors aren't very convincing in their roles (bordering on cheesy) and, like it or not, some of the camera work just isn't that realistic. Perhaps it just didn't age well, but I was ready for it to be over with. Starring: Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Tom Tully, Leon Ames, Jayne Meadows, Morris Ankrum, Lila Leeds. Directed by: Robert Montgomery. C+

The Lady Vanishes (1938) NR mystery

This was one of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest commercial successes and for good reason! This is an exciting film about a young woman aboard a train whose acquaintance suddenly disappears without a trace. She questions the authorities on the train, and they question her sanity. Is she telling the truth, or is she a schizophrenic? This is an intriguing premise, and one that makes an exciting film. It was later remade for box office smash Flightplan. Starring: Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Tom Tully, Leon Ames, Jayne Meadows, Morris Ankrum, Lila Leeds. Directed by: Robert Montgomery. A

Ladybugs (1992) PG-13 comedy

This is an unfortunate movie. Rodney Dangerfield is put into the Bad News Bears formula, except substitute girls' soccer for little league. He gets in some halfway decent one liners, likely ad libbed. The scripted gags and jokes are so vacuous that it's almost fascinating. Dangerfield stars as Chester Lee who is eager for a promotion at his work and agrees to coach the girls' soccer team his company sponsors. Even though he doesn't know the first thing about the sport. But the team won last year's tournament, so he figures they hardly need coaching anyway. The day he shows up for practice, he finds all the good players are gone and were replaced by a bunch of misfits. But the son of Chester's girlfriend (Jonathan Brandis) is a soccer whiz. Chester convinces him to dress up like a girl and join the team. As opposed to something more conventional like recruiting him to be an assistant coach. Starring: Rodney Dangerfield, Vinessa Shaw, Tom Parks, Jeanetta Arnette, Nancy Parsons, Blake Clark, Tommy Lasorda, Jackťe, Jonathan Brandis, Ilene Graff. Directed by: Sidney J. Furie. D-

Ladyhawke (1986) PG-13 fantasy

A film whose magic disappears towards the third act; the film starts beautifully and ends beautifully, but the middle seems to be missing. A curse set upon two medieval lovers turns one into a hawk during the day and one into a wolf at night. Matthew Broderick, an escaped prisoner, does all he can to break this curse and to let these two lovers meet again. The filmís enchanting, and essentially worth it to those who are prone to enjoy medieval fantasies. Starring: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo McKern, John Wood, Alfred Molina. Directed by: Richard Donner. C+

The Ladykillers (2004) R comedy

The Coen Brothers decide, for whatever reason, to remake that old Alec Guiness comedy classic and place it in the rural South. Tom Hanks plays the Colonel Sanders-like lead role as he plots to rob a casino by tunneling to it from an old womanís basement. Itís different enough from the original to be called new (and I actually like bits of this one better), but this is probably the most inessential film the Coens have made yet. Still entertaining, though. Starring: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Irma P. Hall, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, George Wallace, Diane Delano, Stephen Root, Jason Weaver. Directed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. B-

The Land Before Time (1988) G animated

A group of young, starving dinosaurs join forces during the dinosaur-apocalypse, after being separated from their parents, on a quest for the "Great Valley" where all dinos live in abundance. All the while, they have to evade an equally hungry tyrannosaurus rex, Bigtooth. Itís a dark film, but it has a fine sense of adventure. This is hardly the fluff Disney tries to feed us. Voices of: Pat Hingle, Gabriel Damon, Helen Shaver, Candice Houston, Judith Barsi, Will Ryan. Directed by: Don Bluth. B+

Land of the Lost (2009) PG-13 comedy

I wouldn't call myself a fierce defender of Will Ferrell, but I find that I like his movies more often than I don't. This movie it feels like I should love it based on how odd it is. It's about a paleontologist and physicist Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) whose crackpot theories have made him a laughingstock. Specifically his belief about parallel worlds and the existence of "tachyon energy" that can open portals to these worlds. Nonetheless, he does get one ally in PhD student Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) who kicked out of her own program for championing his theories. They find a concentration of tachyons at a roadside attraction owned by Will Stanton (Danny McBride), and it isn't long before all three of them get sucked into a time warp. To a land where vast deserts, dense jungles, and cathedral-esque caverns exist within walking distance. Where objects such as airplanes, automobiles, even entire buildings apparently lost mysteriously on earth through the decades were sucked in and deposited. Where dinosaurs roam freely, there's a race of lizard people known as Sleestaks, and monkey-men, one of whom named Cha-Ka (Jorma Taccone), they befriend. There's a good handful of small laughs scattered throughout this, but it just doesn't find its groove. Perhaps because it is too much of a high-concept premise that requires Ferrell to barrel through a number of uninspired gags, which he does obligingly, until he gets to do what he's really good at: Child-like improvisational riffing against the cast. But unfortunately, it comes too little too late. Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, John Boylan, Matt Lauer, Ben Best, Leonard Nimoy, Douglas Tait, Landon Ashworth. Directed by: Brad Silberling. C-

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) PG drama

One of the few Bollywood films to make it in the West, this engaging epic is about a small Indian village who challenges English aristocrats in a game of cricket. If these underdogs win, they are excused from paying a ridiculous tax. However, if they lose, they have to pay double tax. The village doesnít have much faith in their victory, except for one man (Aamir Kahn). This is a pleasant reminder of those old epics Hollywood used to release in the 50s and 60s. Starring: Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley, Paul Blackthorne, Suhasini Mulay, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Raghuvir Yadav, Ragendra Gupta, Rajesh Vivek, Shri Vallavh Vyas, Javed Khan, Raj Zutshi. Directed by: Ashutosh Gowariker. B+

The Last Action Hero (1993) PG-13 comedy

An interesting but overblown film about a kid who gains possession of magic movie ticket allowing him to skip in and out of the movie world. Inside a movie, he comes across Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is convinced that movie-reality is real-reality. It has fun playing around with cliches of action films but was brought to a weak conclusion. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O'Brien, Mercedes Ruehl, Bridgette Wilson, Charles Dance, Tom Noonan, Robert Prosky, F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney, Frank McRae, Anthony Quinn, Ian McKellen, Joan Plowright. Directed by: John McTiernan. C

The Last Castle (2001) R drama

Robert Redford stars as an imprisoned army general who, naturally, assumes leadership of his fellow prisoners much to the dismay of sadistic warden James Gandolfini. The plot is too fantastical to be believed, but the film is rather entertaining. Starring: Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton, Delroy Lindo, Paul Calderon, Samuel Ball, Jeremy Childs, The Icecapades, Clifton Collins Jr., George W. Scott, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Frank Military, Maurice Bullard. Directed by: Rod Lurie. C+

The Last Detail (1973) R comedy

Jack Nicholson delivers a great performance in this comedy as a Navy officer who is assigned to transport a timid sailor (Randy Quaid) cross-country to jail. With the resistance of his fellow officer (Otis Young), Nicholson decides to give Quaid one last fling before he serves time. This is a funny film with heart even though itís not light entertainment. Starring: Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Michael Moriarty, Carol Kane. Directed by: Hal Ashby. A-

The Last Man Standing (1996) R drama

Bruce Willis stars in this stylized film as a man who profits from two battling gangs in a deserted town. The gritty feel of this Yojimbo remake is nice and so are the unrealistic action sequences, but the poor pacing leaves it dangling in places. Someone needs to give director Walter Hill a good kick in the pants. Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, Bruce Dern, Michael Imperioli, Alexandra Powers, David Patrick Kelly, Karina Lombard, Leslie Mann. Directed by: Walter Hill. C

The Last of the Mohicans (1992) R drama

Epic Hollywood filmmaking, almost at its finest. Sprawling scenery, big battles, intense drama, sweeping musical score, forbidden romance, impressive performance from Daniel Day-Lewis. While I can't say I found this profoundly moving, I also never grow tired of watching. The setting is the French American War. Day-Lewis is a half-white member of the Mohican tribe who falls in love with the daughter of a British general (Madeline Stowe). The story is more complicated than that, but this paragraph isn't that long. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Jodhi May, Steven Waddington, Wes Studi. Directed by: Michael Mann. A-

The Last Picture Show (1971) R drama

Screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from McMurtry's novel. Bogdanovich directed. Clearly, both were at the top of their games. The setting is the dying Texas town of Anarene at the dawn of the Korean War. The main characters are high school teenagers. This isn't Leave it to Beaver, though. These are real teenagers who drink, smoke, curse, fight. They go skinny dipping. Some of them have sex (or try to), and the others talk about it timidly. They don't know what the future holds. Downtown is barren, dusty, and wind-whipped -- which is captured brilliantly in widescreen, black-and-white cinematography. The film begins as teenagers Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) are walking on foot to the local movie house. They field barbs from fogies about the performance at their latest football game. Father of the Bride starring Spencer Tracy is playing on the screen, the characters of which are planning a lavish wedding. Nobody in this town could ever dream of having a wedding like that. Sonny sits in the back row with his girlfriend (Sharon Taggart). The most beautiful girl in his class Jacy (Cybill Shepherd) sits in front of him and starts making out with Duane. Sonny would rather be dating Jacy, but you can't have everything. . . This is a terrific, low-key, melancholic piece of Americana that is also deeply engaging and moving. It's also quite detailed and nuanced -- I doubt I'll attract much controversy when I posit this is the most authentic looking film about dying rural America that has ever been made. Starring: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, Clu Culager, Sam Bottoms, Sharon Taggart, Randy Quaid, Joe Heathcock, Bill Thurman. Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich. A+

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) PG comedy

Dismayed that his wife produced a daughter and not a son, Lord Geste travels to an orphanage to find a young Ďheroí. He finds one, but what comes with this Ďheroí is his inseparable twin brother; who, as it turns out, is the bug-eyed Marty Feldman, who also directs. This an often overlooked and overall enjoyable spoof of French Legion films. Unfortunately, the plot is weak and the jokes are mostly poor. Nevertheless, the numerous slight gags make this fun. Peter Ustinovís performance is the most enjoyable as the one-legged commander. Starring: Marty Feldman, Michael York, Ann-Margaret, Peter Ustinov, James Earl Jones, Henry Gibson, Trevor Howard, Terry-Thomas. Directed by: Marty Feldman. C+

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) R drama

Martin Scorsese directs this beautiful (and fictional) tribute to Christ. Willem Dafoe gives a notable performance as the title character, the self-doubting messiah who nevertheless works to complete his destined work. Unfounded claims of blasphemy followed this film upon release (obviously instated by people who either didnít see the movie or cannot think in the abstract), but it is slowly gaining acceptance within the Christian community. Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie, Verna Bloom, Andre Gregory, Juliette Caton, Roberts Blossom. Directed by: Martin Scorsese. A

The Last Waltz (1978) PG documentary

This is an exceptional documentary that records the final performance of The Band. Also appearing are such distinguished guests as Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Eric Claption, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, etc. This is the standard to which most other rock documentaries cannot measure up to. Starring: The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, The Staples, Muddy Waters, Emmylou Harris, Paul Butterfield, Dr. John, Ronnie Hawkins, Ringo Starr, Ron Wood. Directed by: Martin Scorsese. A-

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) NR adventure

This is an unusually cohesive and richly detailed adventure that's more about the fallible, anguished nature of the hero than it is about the adventure itself. T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is a British officer during the outset of World War I who finds he needs to compromise his ideals to achieve a greater good. But at some point, the line starts to get blurred between what is for the "greater good" and what satisfies his own bloodlust. His immediate objective is to unite the Arab people so that they can fight against the invading Turks. No easy feat, this involves forging alliances between often of warring, disparate tribes. He wins reluctant trust amongst its leaders -- Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness), Aduba abu Tayi (Anthony Quinn), Sherif Ali (Omar Sherif). This is also a wonderful movie to look at -- the expansive desert scenes are often breathtaking. Peter O'Toole is also at his most intense -- seemingly born to play this role as much as his piercing blue eyes match the color of the desert sky, his blond hair the color of the sand. Legend has it O'Toole became haunted by the desert just as Lawrence himself was. This film, at three and a half hours -- a considerable time investment but vastly rewarding. The first half more exciting than the second, but the second half contains those important moments when Lawrence has to learn to live with what he's become. Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains, Anthony Quayle, Arthur Kennedy, Omar Sharif, Jose Ferrer. Directed by: David Lean. A

Laws of Attraction (2004) PG-13 comedy

Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan look great on the movie poster, but they are utterly charmless in this awful romantic comedy where they play divorce lawyers who often find themselves on opposing sides in the courtroom. She hates his careless style, and he thinks she has a bug up her butt. Of course, it isn't long before they sleep together. The breezy script has the right pace for this kind of film, but it amazingly fails to deliver a single chuckle inducing joke. Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Mike Doyle, Allan Houston, Johnny Myers, Heather Ann, Brette Taylor, Sara Gilbert. Directed by: Peter Howitt. D

Le Samurai (1967) NR drama

This is a highly engaging and entertaining French movie about a gangster who tries to escape from the police. I didn't get the point of this film, but that's probably because it's French. And, the whole samurai connection escapes me. This is a good film for nerds who care about the art of cinema enough to analyze it to death. Go art movies! Starring: Alain Delon, Natalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Francois Perier, Michel Boisrond, Carlo Nell, Georges Casati. Directed by: Jean-Pierre Melville. A-

Leadbelly (1976) PG drama

This is how you do a biopic. The concentration is the music and that ramblin', hot headed character who makes the music. I never get the feeling it dwells too much on unimportant information--at least until some of the final scenes. The movie comes across rough around the edges, but that's what makes it seem genuine--in particular, uncompromising depictions of the Jim Crow South. But this is not a miserable film. Much of it makes me smile. The scene with Leadbelly in a bar, drunkenly challenging anyone to a pick-off and then being shown up by an old man with a 12-string guitar. That's how Leadbelly acquires his 12-string guitar, which becomes his signature instrument--it produces a sound that showed him up. In another memorable scene, he gets in a knife standoff with a blind man on a train only to find out he is Blind Lemon Jefferson. They spend the rest of the train ride jamming together. This film is enjoyable through and through. Not to mention the recreation of the songs are phenomenal. Starring: Roger E. Mosley, Paul Benjamin, Madge Sinclair, Alan Manson, Albert Hall, Art Evans. Directed by: Gordon Parks. A

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) PG-13 fantasy

The stunningly gorgeous set and costume design is about the only thing going for this lame-o superhero-type flick. In the year 1899, a bunch of bigwig monsters from legend and novels band together to stop evil people from starting a World War. (Where were they ten years later to stop the bullet from passing through Franz Ferdinand?) Actually, the comic-book-ish plot to the whole film is pretty good; the execution of it was lousy. The action scenes were choppy and the movie, as a whole, was tedious. Some very nice cast talent was wasted. Starring: Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Richard Roxburgh, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Jason Flemyng, Naseeruddin Shah, David Hemmings, Max Ryan. Directed by: Steven Norrington. C-

A League of Their Own (1992) PG comedy

From director Penny Marshall comes this entertaining film about a group of women who join a ladiesí professional baseball league during the World War II era. It features very nice character development and good acting by the big-name cast. Itís also funny and touching. Itís most certainly worth seeing. Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanagh, Rosie OíDonnell, Renee Coleman, Ann Cusack, Tracy Reiner, Bill Pullman. Directed by: Penny Marshall. A-

Leap of Faith (1992) PG-13 comedy

This is an entertaining film about a phony traveling evangelist (Steve Martin) who parades into a run-down Kansas town. There, he gives them a show Ö and hopefully inspires them to empty their wallets. (The more money you give, the more faith you have.) The filmís conclusion was weak and seemed engulfed with sickening sentiment. I did enjoy Martin's performance, though. Starring: Steve Martin, Debra Winger, Lolita Davidovich, Liam Neeson, Lukas Haas, Meat Loaf, Philip Seymour Hoffman, M.C. Gainey. Directed by: Richard Pearce. C

The Learning Tree (1969) PG drama

Gordon Parks directs, writes, produces and composes the music for this adaptation of his own novel. This is a poignant tale about a black family of the 1920's and their struggle with society. It's well constructed and nicely acted, but usually depressing and lacks spunk. Starring: Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans, Dana Elcar, Mita Waters. Directed by: Gordon Parks. B-

Leave No Trace (2018) PG drama

A beautiful film about a deep but tragic relationship between a father and daughter. The father is Will (Ben Foster), an army vet with PTSD who isn't cut out for civilized life. The film doesn't divulge whether that is a direct function of the PTSD or simply his lack of passion about being around other people. However, he does utterly adore his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). While he's failed to provide her with a home more solid than a tent squatted illegally on public land, he's made sure of it that she knows enough about the world to get by in it. And, importantly, she also thrives living in nature and could likely keep doing it perpetually. But the burning question: Is that really what she wants in life? This is a gentle and quiet film that I found deeply engaging. While I wouldn't call it happy, it's also never shocking or offensive. It's a film you could safely watch with older kids, and it might even be good for them. The cinematography is frank in that it doesn't show anything more than what you would see on an ordinary day in the woods. The pair meet a few characters on the way -- salt-of-the-Earth types who just seem like ordinary people. Really what makes this film so engrossing is the sense that it's all so believable and is really happening. Starring: Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey. Directed by: Debra Granik. A-

Leaving Las Vegas (1995) R drama

Nicolas Cage plays an acoholic who loves the drink and hates his life so much that he decided to move to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets a beautiful prostitute (Elizabeth Shue) and they develop a twisted romance. The sheer Hollywoodry of this film works against this film (particularly that part in the end where we see a faded-in image of Cage's goofy face), but it boasts an Academy Award winning performance from Cage, and he plays a genuinely moving character. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, Valeria Golino, Graham Beckel, Steven Weber, David Brisbin, R. Lee Ermey. Directed by: Mike Figgis. B+

Left Behind (2000) PG-13 drama

When all the children of the world and some adults mysteriously disappear from existence, it is soon evident that they have all gone to heaven and the Christian apocalypse has started. The unfortunate souls left behind must endure the Antichrist. This poorly produced film is dull and drab with crappy acting. The filmmakers probably ran out of budget to actually film the ending! (They talk about what happens, but we donít see it.) Starring: Kirk Cameron, Brad Johnson, Janaya Stephens, Clarence Gilyard, Colin Fox, Gordon Currie, Chelsea Noble, Daniel Pilon, Tony De Santis. Directed by: Vic Sarin. D+

Legend (1985) PG fantasy

This very dark and unpleasant fantasy is about the Devil (an unidentifiable Tim Curry) destroying the unicorn, thus giving him complete control over the once friendly world. Tom Cruise stars as a forest-elf with long hair and pointy ears who, along with a band of other strange characters, attempts to put things right. The fact that Legend is somewhat enchanting redeems this otherwise wasted film. The set is too cluttered but is usually pleasing to the eye, however, the background music is absolutely terrible! Ridley Scott sucks. Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty. Directed by: Ridley Scott. C-

The Legend of Drunken Master (1994) R martial arts

Jackie Chan reprises his 1978 role from Drunken Master in this much higher-budget sequel. This time, he must battle against upper-class nogoodniks and, at the same time, defend the style of drunken kung fu. It doesnít quite generate the same level of belly laughs that the original produced, but this is another essential Jackie Chan movie for the fans. The action sequences are excellent, as usual. Starring: Jackie Chan, Ti Lung, Anita Mui, Felix Wong, Lau Kar-Leung, Chin Ka-lok, Andy Lau, Bill Tung. Directed by: Lau Kar-Leung. B+

The Legend of Zorro (2005) PG-13 action

Instead of a grand adventure, this sequel to The Mask of Zorro focuses on our masked folk hero being enraged, and also whiny, about his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leaving him for an aristocrat (Rufus Sewell). Succumbing so easily to crass emotion goes completely against the Zorro mythos. At least as I understand it. Other than that, there are some decent swashbuckling action scenes, and Zorro's young son (Adrian Alonso) is adorable. That's about the extent of this film's appeal. Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Shuler Hensley, Michael Emerson, Adrian Alonso. Directed by: Martin Campbell. C-

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) PG fantasy

Itís a twisted tale about three gifted children (two in their early teens and one infant) who are terrorized by the wicked, inheritance-seeking Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) after the tragic death of their parents. The fantastically awe-inspiring sets and special effects are more intriguing than the movie itself, but itís nevertheless a dark and mesmerizing piece of cinematic candy. Starring: Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, Kara Hoffman, Shelby Hoffman, Jude Law, Timothy Spall, Catherine OíHara, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, Meryl Streep, Luis Guzman, Jaime Harris, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Adams, Dustin Hoffman. Directed by: Brad Silderberg. B+

Lenny (1974) R drama

Uncompromising biopic of Lenny Bruce, a controversial comedian whose personal life spiraled out of control, which fueled the path of his professional life with unhinged stand-up routines--rants reeking of left-winged, political agitation and brutal honesty. Dustin Hoffman's brilliant recreations of these routines is the main reason I enjoyed this film. I don't know how faithful they were, but they were often shocking, so I'd imagine it was close. Bruce also frequently found himself breaching obscenity laws, his case eventually brought to the Supreme Court, and the court scenes also piqued my interest. Details from his personal life came across raw and authentic, which I appreciated if perhaps didn't completely enjoy. Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Milner, Stanley Beck, Rashel Novikoff, Gary Morton, Guy Rennie, Aldo Demeo. Directed by: Bob Fosse. B+

Leprechaun (1993) R horror

I may have to apologize for this one, but I had a ball watching this. Warwick Davis plays a grody little leprechaun with a creepy, wrinkly face who talks in stupid rhymes and dances a lot. This is a slasher movie, so he also likes to chase people down and stab them--particularly if they are in possession of his gold. But sometimes he ignores people who have his gold in favor of somebody else. It's whatever catches his eye. Whatever he thinks is fun. Sometimes he kills, sometimes he maims, sometimes he plays a gruesome prank. He's able to track a gold thief halfway across the globe, but once he finds him, he can't figure out where within a 100-yard radius of his house, he stashed it. Even when there's a rainbow emanating from its location. You see, the Leprechaun is Chaos. He is the id of the darkest recesses of our human psyche. He's the embodiment of our greed, our obsession, our hypocrisy, our inability to look past the end of our nose. He mocks us, debilitates us, and even kills us. And yet he's three and a half feet tall and doesn't run that fast. This is Jennifer Aniston's movie debut. Starring: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Hy Gorman, David Permenter, William Newman. Directed by: Mark Jones. B

Leprechaun 2 (1994) R horror

Be leery when the quality of acting is so poor that it makes Jennifer Aniston look like a master thespian. But like heck if I'll follow that advice. I like this movie for the same reason I like the first one. Well perhaps not as much since this one resorts to a basic damsel-in-distress storyline, which I don't care for. Otherwise, this is more Warwick Davis wearing that grotesque costume goofing around and killing people. The premise goes like this: The Leprechaun gets to choose a bride every thousand years. Don't ask why--that's just the way it is. If she sneezes three times and nobody says "God bless you," then she's his. So, he chooses a bride and uses magic to tickle her nose. But upon the third sneeze, her father thwarts him by saying "God bless you." How the father knew to do that was the Leprechaun told him that was how to break the spell a couple minutes before that. Now, he has to wait another thousand years before he can choose a bride. And he does. It is 1993 and he re-emerges from a tree at Harry Houdini's house. Just like the first film, expect lots of mayhem. You're either going to like this garbage or you won't, and I have fun with it. Starring: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Lames Lancaster, Adam Biesk, Kimmy Robertson, Clint Howard. Directed by: Rodman Flender. C+

Leprechaun 3 (1995) R horror

If you're still watching the Leprechaun movies, you know what you're getting into. If you haven't been disappointed yet, then hop onboard for the second sequel. The Leprechaun is in Vegas now, having ended up in a pawn shop as a statuette with a magic medallion around his neck. The pawn shop owner, not knowing any better, removes the medallion, thus unleashing the Leprechaun who of course kills him. The Leprechaun's able to recover his gold, sans for one coin. This coin has the power to grant wishes, which comes in handy when a kid off to college (John Gatins) decides to gamble his tuition money. Like all the Leprechaun movies, this isn't "good," but I find it to be consistently diverting. After all, the Leprechaun is in Vegas, and he stops his killing spree for a second to goof around with an Elvis impersonator. The Leprechaun equivalent of stopping to smell the flowers. Starring: Warwick Davis, John Gatins, Lee Armstrong, Caroline Williams, John DeMita, Michael Callan, Tom Dugan. Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith. B-

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997) R horror

This should have been the best of them all, because right away it presents a tantalizing poser. Specifically, how did the Leprechaun get into space? Unfortunately, the answer isn't that interesting. It is the year is 2096, and going into space is about as commonplace as getting out of town. A band of mercenary "space marines" try to enact revenge on the Leprechaun, who happens to be trying to marry a space princess. Of course this doesn't work out well for the space marines. The huge problem with this sequel is the Leprechaun is hardly in it. The focus is kept on the space marines who have dull personalities and fight with their German accented benefactor via a 1990s television set. Maybe they weren't paying Warwick Davis enough, but there's literally no point to these movies if he's not in at least 50 percent of the scenes. Starring: Warwick Davis, Rebekah Carlton, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Gary Grossman. Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith. D

Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) R horror

The fifth installment of the series by finds our grotty little friend trying to retrieve a magical flute from a group of young, burgeoning rappers. Part Leprechaun movie, part primordial Hustle & Flow, this film isn't particularly good at being either of them. I can at least say it marks an improvement over the previous film, even though the focus is on the rappers more than the leprechaun. At least there's some fun to be had here. For instance, rappers look awfully silly trying to play a magical flute. But it is also difficult for me trying to get past the squirm-in-your-seat transphobia. Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant, Dan Martin, Lobo Sebastian, Ivory Ocean, Coolio. Directed by: Rob Spera. C-

Leprechaun: Back 2 Hood (2003) R horror

Just another Leprechaun movie that the Leprechaun is hardly in. This movie is about a group of misfits who fall into a crack in the ground to stumble upon the Leprechaun's gold. The movie's half over by the time the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) makes an appearance. He rips a woman's entire lower jaw out because she has a gold capped tooth. But we never actually see her jaw depart from her skull. He's about to do it, the camera cuts, we hear a scream, and the Leprechaun waddles away throwing a bloodied jaw over his shoulder, sans gold tooth. Boooo! At one point the Leprechaun steals a cop car. That's more on the right track but hardly to the level of mayhem that I know that little gnarly toothed demon is capable of. One bright spot in this film is frequent comic relief from Page Kennedy, who tries to change a popular racial epithet to "ninja." Likely the scriptwriter put that in just so Davis wouldn't have to use the real word at a critical juncture of this film, but the way Kennedy introduces is at least funny. Starring: Warwick Davis, Tangi Miller, Laz Alonso, Page Kennedy, Sherrie Jackson, Donzaleigh Abernathy, Sheik Mahmud-Bey, Sticky Fingaz Directed by: Steven Ayromlooi. D+

Leprechaun: Origins (2014) R horror

The title constitutes false advertising. This is a Leprechaun film just in name only. It also doesn't explain the origin of anything. This is a subpar monster movie with no atmosphere, no intrigue, and not nearly enough blood or guts. It's not even a comedy. The worst the series ever got, at least they had juvenile silliness to fall back on. This is also the first of the series not to feature Warwick Davis. The monster here is a full-sized, nonverbal, and apparently primordial form of that wee gold-grubbing goblin. A quartet of American students are touring the Irish countryside when they run across a friendly, folksy Irishman who invites them to stay at his cottage. He promises them there are little-explored archeological sites nearby. Turns out, there's a monster lurking there who demands a blood sacrifice. Starring: Stephanie Bennett, Andrew Dunbar, Melissa Roxburgh, Brendan Fletcher, Dylan "Hornswoggle" Postl, Garry Chalk, Teach Grant. Directed by: Zach Lipovsky. D

Let it Ride (1989) PG comedy

A film with some decent elements to it, but it just can't work out a consistent tone. At times, the film comes off as a tragic tale about a taxicab driver, Jay Trotter (Richard Dreyfuss), whose compulsive gambling habits put his marriage with his wife Pam (Teri Garr) in serious jeopardy. Other times, this is something of a satire -- albeit not such a stinging one -- about the fickleness of wealth and the follies of gambling. Yet other times, this film is surrealist and cartoony. Dreyfuss' character even at one point runs through a wall like the Kool-Aid Man. For all its faults, though, it at least proves to be a decent vehicle for Dreyfuss who is given ample opportunity to let loose with his that maniacal, uptight, red-faced screen character that he's played a number of times. The film opens with Trotter's best friend and colleague Looney (David Johansen) reveals that he'd been secretly recording conversations in the backseat of his cab. Specifically, two horse trainers who were discussing an upcoming race and their "long shot" horse being a surefire win. Trotter, despite his vow never to gamble again, just can't see himself passing up a sure thing. So, he goes for it and gambles his last $50. He wins! Then things escalate from there. Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, David Johansen, Teri Garr, Jennifer Tilly, Allen Garfield, Ed Walsh, Robbie Coltrane, Michelle Phillips, Mary Woronov, Richard Edson, Cynthia Nixon. Directed by: Joe Pytka. C

Lethal Weapon (1987) R action

This rip-roaring classic action film stars Mel Gibson as an on-edge cop and his aging partner (Danny Glover) who have to perform multiple-stunted tasks that can only be explained in action movies. This is one of the classic 'unlikely buddy' flicks, and it certainly helps that the two leads are great in their roles. The action will keep you on the edge of your seat. Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Jackie Swanson, Damon Hines. Directed by: Richard Donner. A-

Liar, Liar (1997) PG-13 comedy

Jim Carrey made a fortune playing such big characters as Ace Ventura and Lloyd Christmas that it constitutes a change to see him play a normal looking guy. Albeit still a little wound-up, so as to give him ample opportunity for cartoonishly frantic freak-outs. He plays Fletcher Reade, a lawyer who frequently lies, both in his professional life and his personal life. He is divorced after cheating on his wife Audrey (Maura Tierney) and is a frequent no-show for outings with his young son Max (Justin Cooper). After failing to show for a birthday party, Max makes a simple birthday wish: That is, for just one day, Fletcher cannot lie. Lo and behold, the wish comes true, and that is much to Fletcher's inconvenience, as he is about to go to civil court to represent a rather despicably dishonest woman (Jennifer Tilly). The appeal here is Carrey's slapstick comedy, setting a fire that rages so heavy that he's able to overshadow a rather weak script. All the same, the rapport he has with Max is so adorable that I really do want to see them become a happy family in the end. Starring: Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tilly, Swoosie Kurtz, Amanda Donohoe, Jason Bernard, Mitchell Ryan, Anne Haney, Justin Cooper, Cary Elwes, Chip Mayer, Eric Pierpoint. Directed by: Tom Shadyac. B

Libeled Lady (1936) NR comedy

Ought to be considered one of the great screwball comedies, if it isn't already. This is about a newspaper that publishes a false story about a heiress (Myrna Loy) philandering with a married man. She sues the paper for libel for the incredible sum of $5 million, which would bankrupt the paper. The managing editor (Spencer Tracy) hatches a plan to have his girlfriend (Jean Harlow) temporarily marry his frenemy (William Powell) who will then seduce the heiress to give some truth to the story. The movie is generations older than I am, and yet I laughed, laughed, laughed. Starring: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Walter Connolly, Charley Grapewin, Cora Witherspoon, E. E. Clive. Directed by: Jack Conway. A

Licence to Kill (1989) PG-13 spy

This is an entirely decent Bond flick and the second to star Timothy Dalton. When bad guys kill some of Bond's friends, he stops at nothing for revenge. Not as exciting as others but it is a fine addition to the increasingly large Bond library. Dalton proves his worthiness as James Bond. Starring: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae, Everett McGill, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Desmond Llewelyn, David Hedison, Priscilla Barnes, Robert Brown. Directed by: John Glen. B

Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2000) G documentary

This is an unfortunately unspectacular biography of baseball great Hank Greenberg. His life wasn't that interesting to begin with, which narrows this film's appeal strictly to baseball-history fans. It doesn't produce the "extra edge" needed for it to appeal to everybody. Starring: Hank Greenberg, Bob Feller, Charlie Gehringer, Walter Matthau, Alan Dershowitz. Directed by: Aviva Kempner. C+

The Life Aquatic (2004) R comedy

This is another very silly fourth feature from Wes Anderson (and probably his worst film to date Ö but thatís just by default). Bill Murray gives a harrowing performance as a washed-up educational filmmaker who decides to go after the shark that ate his best friend. Itís weird enough to suit my tastes (yet, at times, itís just too weird). Some of the jokes were really funny, and I like Andersonís style. Itís just a bit unfocused. Starring: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge, Robyn Cohen, Waris Ahluwalia. Directed by: Wes Anderson. B

Life as a House (2001) R drama

Kevin Kline stars as an architect (an amazing man who manages a three-day-old beard everyday) who loses his job. As if that isnít enough, discovers that he has only four months to live. So, he decides to build a house and to save his sixteen-year-old son, Hayden Christensen, from drugs and generally destructive behavior. And the ex-wife shows up. Itís hardly a spectacular film, but it has heart. Starring: Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Jena Malone, Mary Steenburgen, Mike Weinberg, Scotty Leavenworth, Ian Somerhalder, Jamey Sheridan. Directed by: Irwin Winkler. B-

Life is Beautiful (1998) PG-13 comedy/drama

This fresh Italian satire about a Jewish waiter in the WWII era, who starts a family with a rich woman only to eventually come to a tragedy: the family is split-up and sent to a concentration camp. The Jewish father doesn't want his little child, who's scheduled for the gas chamber, to have any idea what's going on, so to keep him hidden, his father invents a 'game'. He can win a real tank if he does or doesn't do some things that relate to keeping hidden from the guards. Even though we laugh throughout the entire movie, the theme is saddened. This is a highly powerful film that will have a lasting effect. Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giustino Durano, Sergio Lojodice, Amerigo Fontani, Pietro De Silva. Directed by: Roberto Benigni. A+

The Life of Brian (1979) R comedy

Itís less wacky than Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but this third Python film is a biting social satire scale (and there are still plenty of good laughs). It follows the adventures of the reluctant savior, Brian (Graham Chapman), who was born across the street from Jesus. In his 30s, he embarks on a hilarious journey that pokes fun at religion. Itís not for the easily offended, but itís harmless. Itís entertaining and a film that all comedy aficionados ought to add to their list. The cast are at their peaks. Starring: Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Kenneth Colley, Spike Milligan, George Harrison, Gwen Taylor. Directed by: Terry Jones. A-

Life Stinks (1991) PG-13 comedy

This Mel Brooks vehicle starts out entertaining but is brought to a weak conclusion. A rich tycoon (Brooks) wagers that he can spend thirty days in the slums with no money or contacts. There, he struggles with finding shelter, food and the vile hoodlums of the street. The film isnít as dismally awful as many critics would have it, but itís no Young Frankenstein. There are some funny moments, but there are far more unfunny ones. Only for the true Brooks fan. Starring: Mel Brooks, Leslie Ann Warren, Jeffrey Tambor, Stuart Pankin, Howard Morris, Rudy De Luca, Teddy Wilson, Michael Ensigh, Matthew Faison, Billy Barty. Directed by: Mel Brooks. C

Life With Father (1947) NR comedy

William Powell stars as a persnickety husband and father of four boys in a house that rings chaotic mainly due to his unreasonable demands that his household conform to whatever goofy thing he has in mind as "order." Ongoing events include the family's search for a new maid (a position they find difficult to retain), the oldest son's infatuation with a visitor (Elizabeth Taylor), and the revelation that he'd never been baptized. The dialog I'm sure comes off just as sharp and witty today as the day it was released. Starring: William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor, Edmund Gwenn, Zasu Pitts, Jimmy Lydon, Emma Dunn, Moroni Olsen, Elisabeth Risdon. Directed by: Michael Curtiz. A-

Lilies of the Field (1963) NR comedy

Sidney Poitier gives a magnificent performance in this film, which made him the first African American to win the Best Actor Academy Award. He plays a wandering freelancer who stumbles upon an obscure and tiny convent in the middle of Arizona. He asks the Holy Mother for water, but she ends up tricking him into doing numerous odd jobs, including constructing a much needed chapel. This is an excellent comedy that is incredibly enjoyable and terrifically done. Starring: Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann, Isa Crino, Stanley Adams. Directed by: Ralph Nelson. A+

Lisa Picard is Famous (2000) PG-13 comedy

This is a creative, low-budget mockumentary that follows the beginnings of an alleged soon-to-be-star. The filmís entertainment value relies very heavily on its gags. A lot of them work, but too many of them donít. At any rate, there are a few flares of amusement here Ö and the uber-famous guest stars are fun. Starring: Laura Kirk, Nat DeWolf, Daniel London, Griffin Dunne, L.M. Kit Carson, Buck Henry, Sandra Bullock, Carrie Fisher, Linda Blair, Spike Lee, Penelope Ann Miller, Charlie Sheen, Mira Sorvino. Directed by: Griffin Dunne. B

Little Big Man (1970) PG comedy

This hilarious film about 121 year old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) recounting the days of his younger years. Somehow, he manages to juggle in and out of the European culture, the Native American culture, he constantly gets into trouble, survives many near-death situations and still makes it out alive! Jack Crabb apparently was adopted by Native Americans and Christian fanatics, he was the fastest gun in the west, he survived a stint as an honest businessman, a not so-honest businessman, a drunken slob, filthy rich ---- all sorts of stuff! Of course, he is throwing a tall tale at us, but it never fails to entertain. I loved the depiction of General Custer! This is clearly among the best and most entertaining comedies available; funny. Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam, Richard Mulligan, Chief Dan George, Jeff Corey. Directed by: Arthur Penn. A

Little Cigars (1973) PG comedy

Quite the curio. A troupe of little people put on a traveling sideshow, mainly to distract their captive audience while pickpockets weave through the crowd. A beautiful young woman named Cleo (Angel Tompkins) comes around, wise to the scam, and helps them set their criminal sights to loftier heights: Bank robbery. As much as I appreciate the novelty--this'll likely be the only film I ever watch about little people who hold up a bank--there isn't anything remarkable about the crime itself, and the teleplay comes off rather pedestrian--in particular, the stuffy romance between Cleo and the troupe leader Slick (Billy Curtis). The novelty of an Amazonian beauty hooking up with a wrinkly, 60-ish little person notwithstanding.Starring: Billy Curtis, Angel Tompkins, Felix Silla, Jerry Maren, Todd Susman, Emory Souza, Jon Cedar, Phil Kenneally, Joe de Santis, Frank Delfino. Directed by: Chris Christenberry. C

Little Fockers (2010) PG-13 comedy

They're not even trying anymore. I laughed a couple times through the course of this film, but I felt cheap for it. Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) suffers a minor heart attack and dials up his son-in-law Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) to inform him that should anything happen, he's new head of the Byrnes clan. His new title? The God-Focker. If the "Focker" puns weren't already bad in the previous films, they are ten times worse here. That whole God-Focker thing never even resolves itself. Jack Byrnes makes a full recovery, and The God-Focker isn't mentioned again. The screenplay reads like the writers threw crap against the wall to see what might stick. Almost none of it does. The screenwriters also needed to make an excuse for Owen Wilson's character come back, but they kind of blew that off. His character is just in the movie, hanging around the main characters. Which normally wouldn't need explanation, but ... In the first film, he'd married the Byrnes' other daughter. Wilson wasn't in the second film, but he was probably the father of that cute kid. In this third movie, neither the kid nor mother are heard from, and Wilson's character is philandering with super models. So why the fock is he still hanging around the Byrnes? Did Jack disown his own daughter and grandchild in favor of Wilson's character in the divorce? Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand also reprise their roles (unfortunately) as the Fockers. Mr. Focker is off taking dance lessons in Spain, or whatever, while Mrs. Focker is becoming nationally famous for hosting some sex-therapy television show. Nothing funny comes from either of those set-ups either. This is such a dreadful comedy. Starring: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, Terri Polo, Jessica Alba, Laura Dern, Kevin Hart, Daisy Tahan, Colin Baiocchi. Directed by: Paul Weitz. D

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) PG horror

Jodie Foster stars as Rynn, a 13-year-old girl who lives alone. She keeps her aloneness secret, often telling visitors that her poet father is upstairs working and cannot be disturbed. A local pedophile (Martin Sheen in a creepy performance) sniffs her out as a potential target. He barges his way into the house, and she's left to her own resources to fend him off. She's successful for now, but how long will that last? Complicating matters is the pedophile's mother (Alexis Smith) is the landlord of the property, and they already have an acrimonious relationship. The core mystery behind this film lacks the build-up and payoff that I would hope for -- and it isn't especially adrenaline pumping. Nonetheless, it's unique on the whole and does make a compelling argument about children's rights, which are often overlooked in society. Jodie Foster brings to her role a pitch-perfect sense of power and confidence. Starring: Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Alexis Smith, Mort Shuman, Scott Jacoby. Directed by: Nicolas Gessner. B-

Little Man Tate (1991) PG drama

Jodie Foster directed and starred in this memorable film about a child prodigy (Adam Hann-Byrd) who is so smart that he is alienated from his peers. His mother (Foster) is a cocktail waitress of average intelligence who wants to keep her son close. When a director of a prestigious academy wants to take him to a special summer camp, the mother has to decide what's best. This is an engaging movie and completely entertaining. Starring: Jodie Foster, Adam Hann-Byrd, Dianne Wiest, Harry Conick, Jr., David Hyde Pierce. Directed by: Jodie Foster. B+

Little Manhattan (2005) PG comedy

This is a cheesy movie about young romance. An 11-year-old boy (Josh Hutcherson) is head-over-heels in love with a girl (Charlie Ray). So he tries to woo her before she goes off to summer camp. Naturally, he's quite clumsy at it. The filmmakers desperately try to be cute, but their efforts have been futile because all I wanted to do was puke. Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Charley Ray, Bradley Whitford, Cynthia Nixon. Directed by: Mark Levin. D+

Little Miss Marker (1980) PG comedy

A grumpy bookie (Walter Matthau) is left looking after a young girl (Sara Stimpson) who was left in his care by her father for collateral. But the father commits suicide. Can Matthau leave his grumpy ways behind and love this little girl? This is a highly disappointing and boring film considering the cast involved. It's not even that charming. Starring: Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis, Bob Newhart, Lee Grant, Brian Dennehy, Kenneth McMillan, Andrew Rubin, Joshua Shelley, Nedra Votz. Directed by: Walter Bernstein. C-

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) R comedy

Seven-year-old Olive is ecstatic to have been chosen as a runner-up for the Little Miss Sunshine competition even though she was admitted out of a technicality and doesn't seem to fit the role. Nonetheless, her financially and mentally troubled family fully indulges her and takes a road trip to California for the pageant. There are plenty of funny and endearing moments in this crowd-pleasing comedy, but it's also smug and pretentious at times. Starring: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin. Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Fanis. B+

The Little Shop of Horrors (1986) PG musical

This is an enjoyable musical/horror/comedy adapted from the popular off-Broadway production. Seymour, a shaky and meek flower shop worker has his life turned around when a venus flytrap-like plant comes into his life. It generates so much public attention that his flower shop starts rolling in big bucks. A problem occurs when it comes to feeding the thing, however. It won't eat plant food, water or dirt, but what it will take is human blood. It sounds creepy, and it is, but the film is upbeat and kitschy. The songs are not great, but they are toe tapping. Steve Martin's outstanding performance, as the violent dentist, is by far the highlight. Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, James Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, Bill Murray. Voice of: Levi Stubbs. Directed by: Frank Oz. B+

Little Voice (1998) R comedy

This is a highly endearing and entertaining indie-comedy about an enormously shy and quiet title-woman (Brenda Blethyn) who has a knack for imitating the singing voices of Judie Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Bassey with dead-on accuracy. When a local talent scout (Michael Caine) gets wise to her talent, he tries to put her on stage. She resists, of course, but the spirit of her deceased and much beloved father that she does it with flair. Her mother (Jane Horrocks) is loud-mouthed and obnoxious, which provides a very funny contrast. This is a film that tries hard to be emotionally resonant, and it works to a degree. The brassy and unpredictable perforrmances are what keep this film fun. Starring: Brenda Blethyn, Jane Horrocks, Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, Ewan McGregor, Annette Badland, Philip Jackson. Directed by: Mark Herman. B+

Live and Let Die (1973) PG spy

Roger Moore, for his first time, portrays James Bond and proves to be worthy torch-passer. This time, Bond is out to get a drug lord who uses voodoo to his advantage and plans to give away masses of heroin to create more drug addicts, thus creating a larger market. It's a Bond so action and suspense-filled that it's difficult to snooze through. Starring: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris, Geoffrey Holder, David Hendry, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Tommy Lane. Directed by: Guy Hamilton. B+

Living in Oblivion (1995) R comedy

This highly entertaining independent film is an almost non-linear series of dreams and/or episodes as a film director (Steve Buscemi) tries to make his movie. Very very excellent - the story is unique, the acting is generally good, and the execution is superb. This is highly recommended for those willing to try something starkly un-Hollywood. Starring: Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney, Danielle von Zerneck, James LeGros, Rica Martens, Lori Tan Chinn, Tom Jarmusch, Ryna Bowker, Robert Wightman. Directed by: Tom DiCillo. A

Llamageddon (2015) R horror/comedy

The art of making movies is not only reserved for established Hollywood directors with $100 million budgets. Anybody can rent film equipment, write a script, and find a handful of friends who are willing to goof off in front of a camera. But beyond such basic requirements, a little bit of effort should be put into the proceedings. This movie is the pinnacle of apathy, and that has nothing to do with the shoddy special effects or the villain being a killer extraterrestrial llama with glowing red eyes that shoots lasers. There's a scene in which the llama electrocutes a bunch of kids in a hot tub. A friend walks in shortly after, announcing he brought beers for everyone. However, he's startled to see them all dead, and he drops them to the ground. The problem? The cans he brought in were clearly all empty. Your guess is as good as mine: Did an over-eager cast and crew consume all the beer, not realizing they were props? Or did they just not want the movie they were making to be an excuse to potentially ruin a perfectly decent can of beer? As much as I appreciate films that inspire me to use my imagination, this isn't what I mean. The story is pretty simple. The llama lands on earth from origins unknown in a vessel that looks like an animal trailer with a long strip of aluminum siding sticking out of its windows. It immediately starts killing people, especially young people at a party. The purposefully dopey script was intended to spawn a cult classic, but there's such a thing as too dopey. I doubt there's a soul out there who enjoyed this, even ironically. Starring: Louie the Llama, Pinki Brainweis, E.B. Buxxner, Leona L. Dandee, Howie Dewin. Directed by: Howie Dewin. D-

The Lobster (2015) R comedy

The first time I saw this film, which was in theaters, I remember how much it floored me. The world, as it depicts, looks like ours in first glance, but everything about how it operates is utterly foreign. In particular its cold-hearted and peculiar societal rules, which seem to impact single people most prominently. The rules are completely absurd, and yet I convince myself it draws easy parallels to our own world. This is the type of film I'm prone to turning over in my mind long after I finish watching it. So much of the novelty is the unexpected pleasures of watching the universe's rules slowly reveal itself. It's played for laughs, but this movie's dedication to the operation of its own universe is so air-tight that the illusion is never broken. I believe in this universe, because the movie itself believes in it. The star of the film is Colin Farrell who gives a brilliant performance. His character is not only accustomed to this world, he is bored of it -- he's an emotionally dead, humorless man with a potbelly and mustache. He, along with everyone else in this universe who is unmarried, is forced to stay at a bed and breakfast and mingle with other guests for 45 days until they find a new partner. Should they fail, which is common, they get turned into an animal of their choosing. David (Farrell), whose partner had recently left him after a 12-year relationship, chooses to become a lobster. Since, he says, they live for more than 100 years and are blue-blooded, like aristocrats. Also, he rather likes the sea. He's accompanied by a dog -- his brother, a former resident of the b'n'b who didn't make it. Usually suitable partners need to have something superficial in common. For instance, both partners being nearsighted or both having a lisp. There's one resident who limps and is gutted to discover there are no potential partners also with a limp. He does, however, find a woman prone to spontaneous nosebleeds. So he accustoms himself to secretly bashes his nose against hard surfaces in order to spark a relationship with her. There is so much more that happens in this film that is comically absurd and brings me to frequently laugh giddily. The comic timing is among the most phenomenal I've ever seen in cinema. This is an art-house film through and through. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it's subject to many different interpretations. Cinephiles who've seen this film in common, I'm confident, can talk about it for hours. Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Michael Smiley, Ben Whishaw. Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos. A+

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1999) R comedy/action

A funny script and usually punchy direction makes this British crime caper a worthwhile one. When a West End gang find themselves in debt of 500,000 pounds to an unmerciful porn king, they devise a plan to rob criminals of this loot. Forgive me if I found trouble following the story in places, but I enjoyed the dialogue and I really enjoyed the filmís final third. Itís a bit gruesomely violent in spots, but it doesnít go too overboard. Starring: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, Sting, Lenny McLean, P.H. Moriarty, Steve Sweeney, Frank Harper, Stephen Marcus, Peter McNicholl, Vas Blackwood. Directed by: Guy Ritchie. B+

The Lodge (2019) R comedy/action

I enjoy horror movies like this that have creepy atmospheres and unpredictable storylines. I couldn't even tell you what the movie was about until the final scene. There are also some truly heart-wrenching, frightening moments that cut at the heart some of my deepest held fears. I'm being nonspecific so as to not reveal spoilers. Though not a perfect film, it takes a little long for it to catch its momentum. The complex plot twists are also somewhat clunky and contains red herrings--cheap ways of keeping us from scenting out plot developments. Some of the scenes are quite shocking, though, especially at the beginning when the mother of two children (Alicia Silverstone) promptly shoots herself in the head after being informed that her husband (Richard Armitrage) will be marrying his mistress (Riley Keough) in a few months. Their two children, devastated from their mother's death, blame the mistress. The fun begins when they have to spend a weekend alone together at family's snowy winter lodge. Starring: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Danny Keough. Directed by: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala. B+

Logan's Run (1976) PG sci-fi

A good sci-fi flick about a future society that secretly eliminates people once they turn thirty. Logan 5, 29 years old, catches wind of his impending death and runs. This film is interesting, engaging and generally considered a highlight to fans of science fiction. The story is sometimes confusing, however. Starring: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Ustinov, Michael Anderson Jr., Gary Morgan. Directed by: Michael Anderson. B

Lolita (1962) NR drama

This is not a nice movie, let's get that straight. It's about men who commit statutory rape with a 14 year old girl. But it's an artful film, hardly glamorizing these men, nor making excuses for their thoughts or actions. The best thing this film could have done with the subject matter was to have Lolita (Sue Lyon) behave precisely as a 14-year-old girl. The unrefined mannerisms, the smacking of bubble gum, the talking in sophomoric terms. It makes these leering pedophiles seem much creepier. James Mason stars as a college professor who rents a room from a widow (Shelley Winters). He's unsure about it until he spots Lolita and falls instantly in lust. Of course he keeps his dirty thoughts secret--apart from logging it in a diary. He orchestrates situations for them to be together, and it turns out, she has feelings for him. They run away together on a cross country trip where he pretends to be her father. Peter Sellers also stars as a perceptive stranger who is wise to his game--sensing a damaged young woman and an opportunity to satisfy his own prurient desires. While it might be easy for me to say this film doesn't glamorize pedophilia, the film is tame enough such that there could be room left for interpretation. Had the censors left director Stanley Kubrick alone to make the film he wanted to make, the results might have been more psychologically horrifying. Starring: James Mason, Shelley Winters, Peter Sellers, Sue Lyon, Marianne Stone, Diana Decker, Jerry Stoven, Suzanne Gibbs, Gary Cockrell, Roberta Shore. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. B

Lone Star (1996) R drama

When the remains of a long-dead sheriff (Kris Kristofferson) is uncovered in the deserts of Texas, the current sheriff (Chris Cooper) begins to suspect that his own now-deceased father (Matthew McConaughey) might have been the culprit. Cooper begins to make inquiries about the matter, but his deceased father was such a respected figure and local legend that the only help he can receive is reluctant. Meanwhile, a romance with his high school love (Elizabeth Pena) is rekindled. The film isnít too exciting, but the script is great and the performances are engaging. Starring: Chris Cooper, Elizabeth Pena, Joe Morton, Ron Canada, Clifton James, Kris Kristofferson, Miriam Colon, Gordon Tootoosis, Matthew McConaughey, Beatrice Winde, Gabriel Casseus, Stephen J. Lang, Frances McDormand. Directed by: John Sayles. A-

Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) PG action

An above average action film--particularly for Chuck Norris who stars as a rugged, semi-rogue Texas Ranger. He does an incredible martial arts battle with David Carradine, who makes an excellent, sleazy villain. This feels like a classic spaghetti western, even though the story isn't poetic like one. Helping it, though, is the Ennio Morricine style soundtrack by Francesco De Masi is glorious. Starring: Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, Leon Isaac Kennedy, John Anderson, Robert Beltran, L.Q. Jones. Directed by: Steve Carver. B

The Long Goodbye (1973) R mystery

Benchmark adaptation of Raymond Chandlerís book wasnít received well upon release, but it is now considered a classic. Adapting a cynical and downbeat tone, director Robert Altman (who co-wrote the script) brings one of the most unique mysteries ever made. Elliot Gould is excellent as the wise cracking Philip Marlowe investigating the death of his friendís wife. Starring: Elliot Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Henry Gibson, Mark Rydell, Jim Bouton, Leslie Simms, Ken Samson, Jack Riley. Directed by: Robert Altman. A

The Long, Hot Summer (1958) NR drama

Two of William Faulknerís short stories are translated in this rather delightful film. Paul Newman stars as Ben Quick, a social outcast who makes it to a small town. There, he befriends the most powerful man in town (Orson Welles) because they think alike. Newman agrees to marry his very reluctant daughter (Joanne Woodward), a schoolteacher, who is nearing old maid status. This film features a compelling story, great acting and a genuinely happy ending. Starring: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Francoisca, Orson Welles, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, Richard Anderson, Sarah Marshall. Directed by: Martin Ritt. A-

The Longest Yard (1974) R comedy

Burt Reynolds stars as an imprisoned former quarterback who is asked by the warden (Eddie Albert) to form a football team out of the inmates to play against the guards (who want an easy warm-up game before they go on to the semi-pro season). This is an entertaining film with a few good laughs, but it's fairly trite. Why this is considered such a beloved film is beyond me. Starring: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, Richard Kiel, Dino Washinton, Sonny Shroyer, Robert Tessier, John Steadman, Jack Rockwell, Tony Reese, Ray Ogden, Michael D. Ford, James Hampton, Bernadette Peters. Directed by: Robert Aldrich. B

The Longest Yard (2005) PG-13 comedy

Adam Sandler stars in this disappointing football comedy that tries harder at advertising McDonald's than delivering good comedy. (Product placement? Try product intrusion!) Although, a few thin jokes that amuse keep the film flowing well. Sandler plays an outcasted NFL football player who is sentenced to three years after a drunken run-in to the local police. In jail, he is prompted by the warden (James Cromwell) to form a convict football team to play with the guards. It lacks believablility even within the context of a goofy sports movie and some of the plot turns were just clumsy. Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Nelly, James Cromwell, William Ficter, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Bill Goldberg, Cloris Leachman, Tracy Morgan, Rob Schneider. Directed by: Peter Segal. C-

Look at Me (2004) PG-13 comedy

This nice and thoughtful French film stars Marilou Berry as the depressed daughter of a celebrated author (Jean-Pierre Bacri) who tries to find her place in the world of art. The filmís a bit slow at times, but this is a good character study and itís excellently acted by the whole cast. Starring: Marilou Berry, Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Laurent Grevill, Virginie Desarnauts. Directed by: Agnes Jaoui. B+

Look Who's Talking (1989) PG-13 comedy

This movie has a gimmick, but it knows how to milk it without overdoing it. The gimmick, of course, is a baby whose thoughts are spoken via voiceovers by Bruce Willis. The baby is Mickey, child of a single mother Mollie (Kirstie Alley), an accountant. Mikey's biological father is a client of hers, Albert (George Segal), who is married. He'd promised to leave his wife for her, but he ends up running off with someone else entirely. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Mollie hits the dating scene hard, looking for a suitable (i.e., wealthy) father for Mikey. Meanwhile, she fends off advances from a taxi driver (John Travolta) who, rather frustratingly, turns out to be a convenient and willing babysitter as she goes off on dates. (Travolta's interactions with the baby are terrifically endearing.) While the expected romantic-comedy tropes remain unscathed, the film turns out to be a sweet and entertaining diversion. While later sequels in the series spoiled the gimmick, here in the original film, it's mostly spot-on and lands many light chuckles and aww moments. Alley and Travolta are also in good form and develop some real, on-screen chemistry. Starring: Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Olympia Dukakis, George Segal, Abe Vigoda. Voice of: Bruce Willis. Directed by: Amy Heckerling. B

Look Who's Talking Too (1990) PG-13 comedy

Baby Mikey has grown up not only into a toddler but a big brother -- the newcomer to the family is Julie (voiced by Roseanne Barr). Mikey's determined as ever to be the greatest big brother ever, but when James (John Travolta) temporarily separates from Mollie (Kirstie Alley), Mikey believes it to be all baby sister's fault. Thus, he goes about vengefully murdering her favorite toy: a stuffed penguin named Herbie. Chalk it up to overconfidence on the screenwriters' part over the success of the first film, but this is where the gimmick gets far too overused. The big problem, really, is much of the commentary doesn't ring true. Unlike the commentary from the first film, some of it is far too self-aware or makes a reference that's impossible for a pre-verbal child to know about. Nonetheless, I still found a few occasions to laugh and also let out the compulsory awwww. As such, the film didn't turn out to be as insufferable as I thought it would be. But another other area this film disappoints is the story-arc. The first film struck a sweet chord with its tale about how James wanted to be Mikey's father and vice versa. This one travails much darker territory -- that life with Mollie might just prove too troublesome to make Mikey worth it. Starring: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Olympia Dukakis, Elias Koteas, Twink Caplan, Gilbert Gottfried, Lorne Sussman, Meg Milner. Voices of: Bruce Willis, Rosanne Barr, Damon Wayans, Mel Brooks. Directed by: Amy Heckerling. C

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2006) PG-13 comedy

Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred this underrated comedy. He plays a fictional version of himself (and hilariously self-depreciating) who is appointed by the President of the United States to travel to India and Pakistan to figure out what makes them laugh. This film is only for those who appreciate irony, but the comedy certainly could have packed more of a punch. Starring: Albert Brooks, Sheetal Sheth, Jon Tenney, John Carrol Lynch, Amy Ryan. Directed by: Albert Brooks. B

Lord Jim (1965) NR adventure

Flawed but all-around OK adventure film stars Peter O'Toole as an ex-pat British navy officer who is privately commissioned to deliver arms to the fictional Asian country Patusan. There, a village is orchestrating an uprising against a tyrannical general (Eli Wallach). The story meanders nicely but has trouble sustaining momentum to justify the 154 minute running length. The battle scenes, while standard, are done well--explosions, gunfire, stabbings--the good stuff. My complaint about Wallach is he doesn't come across despicable enough for me to really hate him. O'Toole is likable as the hero, even though I don't understand his motivation for helping the small village. Other than I guess to satisfy a deathwish after getting kicked out of the navy. His romance with one of the villagers is hopelessly tepid. While this film makes for a fitfully entertaining watch, it still leaves us lacking a definitive version of the Joseph Conrad source material. Starring: Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Curd Jurgens, Eli Wallach, Jack Hawkins, Paul Lukas, Daliah Lavi, Akim Tamiroff, Juzo Itami, Tatsuo Saito. Directed by: Richard Brooks. C

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001) PG-13 fantasy

A rollicking action/adventure picture adapted from the first part of the celebrated novel from J.R.R. Tolkein. Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) embarks on a journey to rid the world of a magic ring that would bring ultimate power to its evil maker. Overlong? Pooh! I was engaged through the entire thing Ö it is shot beautifully and jeweled with flawless special effects and mind-blowing action. The fine ensemble cast (including Ian Holm, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, among others) fit perfectly into their respective roles. A nearly flawless action/adventure film, and an excellent start to the trilogy. Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortenson, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis. Directed by: Peter Jackson. A+

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) PG-13 fantasy

The adventure continues. The second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is just as emotionally intense as the first, if not more, and the battle scenes are certainly edge-of-your-seat. And the humor ... where'd that come from? There were some parts that had me laughing 'till my stomach nearly tore Ö This suggests that the filmmakers wisely weren't taking themselves more seriously than necessary. This is yet another memorable action-adventure that is just as good as the film that came before it. Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortenson, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, Bernard Hill. Directed by: Peter Jackson. A+

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) PG-13 fantasy

The sprawling, action-filled film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkeinís hailed trilogy is finally brought to a close, and I couldnít wish for a better conclusion. The special effects, acting, plodding are equally as good as the first two installments were. The ending takes forever to finish, but *crap* it was better than I could possibly have imagined it. Classic, and it fully deserved that Oscar sweep. Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, John Noble, Ian Holm. Directed by: Peter Jackson. A+

Lord of War (2005) PG-13 drama

Nicolas Cage stars as an arms dealer who made a fortune selling off Soviet military equipment after the end of the Cold War. He continues to participate in the trade, justifying that if it wasn't him then someone else would do it, much to the dismay of an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke) who is a stickler for the rules. This is a good film, but its pretentiousness can be a hard pill to swallow. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Monyahan, Ian Holm, Ethan Hawke, Eamonn Walker, Sammi Rotibi. Directed by: Andrew Niccol. B-

The Lost City (2022) PG-13 adventure

The idea behind this film is fine -- I just think the execution was misfired. The most glaring problem stemming from its star, Sandra Bullock. As much as I like her and enjoy her on-screen presence, she's supposed to be playing a nebbish, introverted romance novelist who ends up on a real-life jungle adventure with male model (Channing Tatum) who appears on the covers of her books. He's super handsome but also a major dolt. The film tries to convince me that they are an impossible pairing. As though they shouldn't even belong in the same room together. And I can see how that might be funny. But, simply put, I can also see with my own eyes that Bullock is extremely attractive and looks perfectly suited to appear with Tatum on the covers of her novels. Perhaps this was a lost opportunity to cast Melissa McCarthy in a reprisal of her character from Can You Ever Forgive Me? At any rate, these two find themselves kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who whisks them away to a remote tropical island where they are forced to embark on an outlandish adventure to find "The Lost City." That is a place she described in her books -- supposedly mythological, but she inadvertently stumbled upon real clues to its whereabouts and incorporated them into her stories. Imagine if Dan Brown was actually onto something. The highlight of the film has to be Brad Pitt who appears in a brief but amusing small role as an Indiana Jones-type explorer who -- unfortunately for them -- can't make the full journey. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Hector Anibal, Thomas Forbes-Johnson, Oscar Nunez, Patti Harrison, Brad Pitt. Directed by: Adam Nee and Aaron Nee. C-

The Lost Horizon (1937) NR fantasy

This classic film directed by Frank Capra is about a small group of people who are kidnapped and taken to Shangri-La, the lost city in the Himalayas, where they are expected to live. Shangri-La is a utopia, where people live in peace and harmony, but why were they taken there? It's engaging and pleasant, the cast is nearly perfect and there's hardly a dull moment. Truly, this is a remarkable film! Starring: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, John Howard, Edward Everett Horton, Margo, Sam Jaffe, H.B. Warner, Isabelle Jewell. Directed by: Frank Capra. A

Lost in America (1985) R comedy

One of my personal favorites, Albert Brooks writes, directs and stars in this hilarious film about a bored executive and his bored wife who sells their possessions and buys a Winnebago to live the rest of their lives on the road. Then on a pit stop in Las Vegas where they planned to get remarried when they discover that the wife (brilliantly performed by Julie Hagerty) is a compulsive gambler and gambles away the nest egg. The humor in the film is intelligent enough for the most demanding of filmgoers, yet it's funny enough that youíll likely find yourself laughing your socks off. Starring: Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty, Sylvia Farrel, Tina Kincaid, Candy Ann Brown, Maggie Roswell, Hans Wagner, Randy Rubin, Michael Greene, Tom Tarpey, Robert C. Hughes, Raynold Gideon, John Di Fusco. Directed by: Albert Brooks. A+

Lost in Space (1998) PG-13 sci-fi

Based on the campy television show of the 60's, Lost in Space is a fun adventure with grandiose special effects that will please fans of the genre. Unfortunately, the plotís weak and confusing. The Robinson family is selected to go on a mission to Alpha Centauri in hopes of colonizing the planets, but through a few mishaps, they are lost. They make it to mysterious unknown planet and find odd things including a spaceship, flesh eating spiders, a monkey and a large bubble. Much of the original cast makes cameo appearances. Starring: William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert, Jack Johnson, Gary Oldman, Matthew LeBlanc, Jared Harris, Mark Goddard, Lennie James, Marta Fristen, June Lockhart, Edward Fox, Adam Sims, Angela Cartwright, Dick Tufeld. Directed by: Carla Fry. C+

Lost in Translation (2003) R comedy

Bill Murray gives the most touching and engaging performance of his career (even though he is essentially playing himself) as an aging actor who is called over to Japan to do a series of commercials. In Japan, he feels utterly alienated. There, he meets a similarly alienated American wife (Scarlett Johansson). Together, they roam the city with nothing particular to do. Itís a really engaging and unique film with some charming and funny moments. Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Fumihiro Hayashi, Catherine Lambert. Directed by: Sofia Coppola. A

Love Actually (2003) R romance/comedy

Itís an utterly transparent and pretentious tribute to love, but itís quite entertaining and some bits are downright hilarious. The film follows several slightly connected characters and their escapades with love. The cast is chock-full of great character actors, and alone makes watching this film worth it. Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nightly, Rowan Atkinson, Martine McCutcheon, Martin Freeman. Directed by: Richard Curtis. B+

Love and Death (1975) PG comedy

Woody Allen directs one of his rare films to not take place in New York! Allen stars as a wimpy Russian villager during in the Napoleonís time. Allen has taken love to Diane Keaton and (as usual) becomes intrigued by death. (He also has a conversation with Death himself.) This comedy classic produces excellent if infrequent laughs. Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Georges Adet, Frank Adu, Edmond Ardisson, Feodor Atkine, Albert Augier, Yves Barsacq, Lloyd Battista, Jack Berard, Eva Bertrand. Directed by: Woody Allen. A-

Love & Mercy (2014) PG-13 drama

Faithful adaptation of Beach Boys' Brian Wilson's life spanning the height of his intense artistic flourishing in the '60s through the '80s, when he was under close and oppressive supervision from his live-in psychiatrist Eugene Landy. This is a straightforward biopic but crafted well and boasts on-point performances from Paul Dano and John Cusack who play old and young versions of Wilson respectively. The music, of course, is fantastic. Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny World, Brett Davern, Graham Rogers, Erin Drake, Bill Camp. Directed by: Bill Pohlad. B+

The Love Letter (1999) PG-13 romantic comedy

This rather peculiar romantic comedy is full of flaws, but it might just be unusual enough to be worthy of a look. Kate Capshaw stars as a bookshop owner in a small, seaside New York town who discovers a love letter. She thinks that it was meant for her, and she tries figure out who it's from. It tries hard to be offbeat, it doesnít quite click. Nevertheless, this is a good, mildly entertaining flick for dates. Starring: Kate Capshaw, Gloria Stuart, Ellen DeGeneres, Blythe Danner, Geraldine McEwan, Julianne Nicholson, Thomas Everett Scott, Tom Selleck, Bill Buell, Alice Drummond, Erik Jensen, Margaret Ann Brady, Jessica Capshaw. Directed by: Peter Ho-Sun Chan. C+

A Love Song For Bobby Long (2004) R drama

This is a thoughtful drama but itís not nearly resonant enough to make much of an impact. Scarlett Johansson stars as a waitress who learns that her mother, whom she didnít really know, has died. She goes to the funeral only to learn that she was a day late. She learns that her mother left her a third of her house. The other two thirds went to John Travolta, nearly miscast as an out-of-work literature professor, and Gabriel Macht, one of his former students. At first, she doesnít get along with those two, but Ö they all have issues they need to work out. This is good filmmaking and a nice script, and itís worth watching for fans of this genre. Starring: John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht, Deborah Kara Unger, Dane Rhodes. Directed by: Shainee Gabel. B

Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) NR romance

Steve McQueen manages to impregnate Natalie Wood out of wedlock. McQueen responds by plunking down some cash for an illegal abortion, but Wood's not sure what she wants to do. Itís a would-be boring film that was nicely put-together by the crew and expertly performed by the cast. Starring: Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen, Edie Adams, Herschel Bernardi, Tom Bosley, Harvey Lembeck, Penny Stanton, Virginia Vincent, Nick Alexander, Augusta Ciolli, Ann Hengira, Mario Badolati, Elena Karam. Directed by: Robert Mulligan. B

Lucas (1986) PG-13 comedy/drama

This sweet adolescent romance film is about a vertically challenged, but extremely intelligent high school kid, named Lucas, who befriends a gorgeous older girl, named Maggie. However, when school starts, Lucas is afraid that his relationship with Maggie is slipping away when she turns to the football captain (Charlie Sheen). So he joins the football team to try to impress her. This realistic adolescent film isnít flawless, but itís among the best the genre has to offer. It also offers Winona Ryder's movie debut. Starring: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thone-Smith, Winona Ryder, Thomas E. Hidges, Ciro Poppiti, Guy Boyd, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Gerard Wixted. Directed by: David Seltzer. B+

Lucky Number Slevin (2006) R thriller

This movie has a great set-up, but the pay-off is disappointing. It's directed well enough, but I was expecting that the end would have been much more clever than it really was. The non-linear storyline sometimes works well, but not so much with this film. At any rate, this was an entertaining watch even though I figure this was just an excuse to make another Tarantino clone. Starring: Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Kevin Chamberlain, Sam Jaeger, Dorian Missick. Directed by: Paul McGuigan. C+

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